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Monday, January 21, 2013

Bolt Action - Review: Hobby Boss KV-1

Not every army needs a tank, but if you're going to take one, the KV-1 is one fine beast.  The KV-1 has always been my favorite Soviet tank of the war.  Partially because it is a refrigerator with a gun, partially because it has never let my Germans down in FoW.  (I run a captured one named Kathrine the Great in my MW grenadier list) So when looking at buying my first tank for Bolt Action, I chose the KV-1.

from wikipedia

The Kliment Voroshilov (KV) tanks were a series of Soviet Red Army heavy tanks, named after the Soviet defense commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov. The KV series were known for their extremely heavy armor protection during the early part of World War II, especially during the first year of the invasion of the Soviet Union.
They were almost completely immune to the 3.7 cm KwK 36 and howitzer-like, short barreled 7.5 cm KwK 37 guns mounted respectively on the early Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks fielded by the invading German forces. Until better guns were developed by the Germans it was often the case that the only way to defeat a KV was with a point-blank shot to the rear.
Prior to the invasion, about 500 of the over 22,000 tanks then in Soviet service were of the KV-1 type. When the KV-1 appeared, it outclassed the French Char B1,the only other heavy tank in operational service in the world at that time. Yet in the end it turned out that there was little sense in producing the expensive KV tanks, as the T-34 medium tank performed better (or at least equally well) in all practical respects. Later in the war, the KV series became a base of development for the Josef Stalin (Iosif Stalin, or IS) series of tanks.

The Model
When I started looking for a tank for my Soviet army I knew I wanted a KV-1, however I was unable to find an miniature war game manufactures that made a  KV-1 in 28mm, so I turned to model kits.  I found a few and settled on the 1/48 scale KV-1 kit from Hobby Boss, which I picked up on e-bay for $16. 
 (Note: soon after buying this kit I found out Warlord has a KV-1 tank in the final stages of tooling)

As far as model kits go this kit was not complicated to put together, just time consuming and involved, like most model kits.  It came with 10 pages of instructions, which where very clear and made assembly fairly straight forward.  It took me about an hour and a half to two hours to assemble this tank, and I would estimate about 60-80 pieces.  One thing that was nice is it came with jigs for assembling the tracks. This made track assembly easy.

You may notice that some smaller detail pieces are missing from this KV-1.  Those pieces are either lost on my carpet, broke during assembly, or currently glued to my fingers.  I have ham hands  and very little patience when it comes to assembling model kits.  That is why I appreciate resin and metal kits so much.  I could never see myself getting heavily into 20mm gaming because it requires so much time invested in model kit building.  As for this model though, I did not get too frustrated when building it, and only had to take one breather break to calm down after unintentionally gluing a finger to the floor while searching for a small piece I dropped.

You may notice in the next picture, on the rear of the KV-1, what appears to be cracking.  Its not cracking its more of a wrinkle.  I used Warlords Quick Shade on this model and for some reason, yet to be logically explained to me, when I spray some models down with a flat finishing coat that I dip, the flat coat wrinkles.  I say some models because it doesn't always happen.  It only happens with certain colors.  For example Battlefront's German Yellow wrinkles on me, but their other colors don't.  It always is a little frustrating when it happens, but there is not much I can do about it.  It helps that its only noticeable up close.  Sometimes I tell people it was intentional to give it a more worn out look (hehehe).  I used a Warlord green to prime this tank and was not expecting it to happen, because I have never had it happen on green paint before, but it did.  If you know why this happens let me know about it on the forum, I would love to make this stop happening.

One thing to keep in mind is this is a 1/48 scale kit, which is not the ideal scale for 28mm figures.  1/56 scale is a better match, but I could not find a KV-1 in 1/56.  It will be interesting to see how it looks next to 28mm tanks from Warlord or other companies.  As you can see from the below photo it is a pretty good match next to my Naval Troops.

So there you have it, the 1/48 scale KV-1 from Hobby Boss.  A lot of work, but a nice looking kit when finished.  If you use model kits for you Bolt Action army, what are lessons you have learned and what company or kits do you use?  Share with the rest of us on the WWPD forum.

“Craig Baxter is the Director of the WWPD Northern Research center in Anchorage, AK. When he’s not contributing to he is busy blogging, painting, modeling and rolling dice. You can find more of his work and articles at”

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